first year teacher needs input!

Discussion in 'New Teachers Archives' started by lcluigs03, May 24, 2006.

  1. lcluigs03

    lcluigs03 Cohort

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    May 24, 2006

    ok, i know i JUST got asked to join the team for my district, but already i feel lost. i guess i just don't know what to expect (i.e. introductions, procedures, schedules etc). it is mandatory that i have a mentor for the first 2 years, but who is she? when will i find out? what will she share with me? i want to do any "universal" procedures that they do, but i don't know how to gain access to them. i want to set up my schedule, but don't know how because i haven't been given any information.

    we do have new teacher orientation august 10-11, do i find all this out then? and then start school a week later? what kind of planning can i do for stuff in a week? i love to plan ahead of time.

    anyway, advice here would be greatly appreciated as i can't sleep at night or eat during the day because i'm so worried about it. i'm a worrier i guess.

    please advise.:eek:
    thank you
    LC
     
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  3. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    May 24, 2006

    What grade is this? You probably won't find out your actual schedule until that week, but it doesn't mean you can't plan. You should be able to get the calendar for the school year and you can set up your gradebook and planner, including the dates for holidays, etc. You should be able to get the teacher guides for your texts. Ask now. Find out if you do planning individually or with others. You can map out the general sequence for the first quarter, anyway. Will you do themes? Centers? What will your behavior plan look like? I think that you can do an awful lot before that back to school week.
     
  4. lcluigs03

    lcluigs03 Cohort

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    3rd grade...sorry
     
  5. Tinsley81

    Tinsley81 Rookie

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    May 24, 2006

    Hey, Congrats!
    I'm in a similar situation-I'm a big "planner" and I just got hired last week for a fifth grade position. I've been feeling a lot of the same emotions that you have and feeling anxious because I want to start planning and creating things NOW! When I went to sign my contract at the district office, I stopped by the school to "personally thank" my new principal for the opportunity. I asked him when I could set up a meeting with him (or if that was even necessary) to get the curriculum for the year and to see my classroom. Once school is out for the year, he said I could email him to make sure he'd be there when I could to get in my classroom and get the curriculum.
    He also said there would be a lot of information coming in the mail for me and during new teacher training in Aug. I would get even more information. However, I think he appreciated the fact that I wanted to learn more about the school and curriculum before then!

    My advice is to email (or call, but I think email is so much easier for busy people at this time of the year) to find out when to "meet" with him to go over some basic info for the upcoming year. Yes, it seems like there will be a lot of info during new teacher institute, but if you're like me, you want info right now! (I assume you're as excited as I am) :D

    Good luck and start the communication process now (without being too pushy of course) I think it leaves a great impression.
     
  6. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

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    I feel like all of you do. I will be a new teacher next year as well. I want to be well prepared way before school starts. I have a lot of lessons ready and lots of things organized because I've spent the past year planning for my "future" job. Thanks to some great books I've been reading I have some great ideas. The book that has been the biggest help is called "First Year Teacher's Survival Kit" by Julia Thonpson. This book is over 500 pages of everything a new teacher needs to know: planning, rules, many forms included. You can get it on Ebay for around 12 dollars.
    I would love to go see my classroom, but it is 400 miles away in a state that I will be moving to over the summer.
     
  7. kidatheart

    kidatheart Habitué

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    Congratulations to all of you - I am sooo jealous!
    As far as planning goes, reading up on first year teaching is a really good idea. Harry Wong's "First Days" is a good start.
     
  8. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

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    Yes, I have that book and it is excellent.
     
  9. tjob

    tjob Rookie

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    Wow! Im afraid of first year teaching well afraid and anxious to face my fears and meet my first year ginny pigs. Im still trying to complete my certification. Hopefull this school year 06-07 Ill be in a classroom!!!
     
  10. NancyS

    NancyS New Member

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    May 25, 2006

    In the same boat...

    Wow! I'm glad I joined! I just graduated and will teaching 7th grade ELA in the fall. I am so nervous and it's great to know I'm not alone :) I"m calling my principal in the morning to ask questions about getting the texts and so forth.
     
  11. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Welcome to AtoZ, Nancy!
     
  12. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

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    Nancy,LC, Tinsley, keep coming back here when school begins so we can continue to grow and learn together.
     
  13. lcluigs03

    lcluigs03 Cohort

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    May 26, 2006

    i'm here all the time! i need as much info as i can get! lol.

    LC
     
  14. Tinsley81

    Tinsley81 Rookie

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    May 26, 2006

    This site has been so helpful-not only with all the ideas, but with the "we're all in it together" feeling I have when I read everyone's posts.

    Congrats to all of you who are also going to be 1st year teachers!
     
  15. Irissa

    Irissa Cohort

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    May 26, 2006

    Ask your new principal for your new team leader's name and phone number. Mine was invaluable my first year of teaching. She helped me get copies of the curriculum, teachers guides supply lists and took me to see my room even though i couldnt get my keys yet.
     
  16. TexasAggie2323

    TexasAggie2323 Comrade

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    Yep, it is good to know who your department head is. They have to work during the summer anyway so they would love to give you some information.

    Another book I recommend reading if you havent is Tools for Teaching. I do not remember the author but it has some great ideas as far as how to set up your classroom.
     
  17. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Fred Jones is the author of Tools for Teaching- yes, it is very helpful.
     
  18. kidatheart

    kidatheart Habitué

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    I think so too - I love coming in and knowing that I'm not the only one out there with my issues! Everyone in here understands where I am coming from and can empathize with my situation because they are, or were in, the same position.
     
  19. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    yes, it's nice to have that "one big happy family feeling" some days it is a real pick me up
     
  20. MissR

    MissR Comrade

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    May 27, 2006

    It is so weird to feel such nervousness and excitment at once... It sounds like a lot of us are in that boat. When I got my job I was so excited thinking I have most of the summer to get ready... and now I am not sure how to get ready! I do get to go in over summer and see my classroom and get the curriculum, so I hope that will help, but I've got all of this antsy energy waiting to figure out how to prepare!
     
  21. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

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    The books I have been reading has given me insight into EVERYTHING a beginning teacher must know. The only thing now is I have nightmares that I follow the advice given in these books, yet the kids in my class aren't listening to me at all.
    I have also been renting movies that deal with the classroom environment: Teachers, Lean on Me, etc. I have done a year and half of subbing, mostly long-term, but I feel I can't prepare enough. Maybe I'm obsessed.
     
  22. WITeach

    WITeach Cohort

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    I agree with this. This was my first year and my principal gave me my mentor's phone number and I called her right away. She was more than willing to let me into the building and my classroom several times during the summer so I could set up my room and ask questions. She was a GREAT resource to get basic school information and procedures from.
     
  23. TexasAggie2323

    TexasAggie2323 Comrade

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    If you can handle the kids as a sub you should have no problem dealing with them in your own classroom.

    I can understand where you are coming from...I am getting nervous as well.
     
  24. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    In my first years, I overprepared ahead of time. In some ways that was good as I always had something ready to do. In other ways it was a waste of time. I changed my plans once I got my class and saw how it was going. There was nothing wrong with what I had originally planned, I just didn't think it was the right thing to do. I like to have everything ready, tons of supplies and resources, but be ready to adapt at a moment's notice. Many of my best lessons have come from that willingness to adapt.
     
  25. WITeach

    WITeach Cohort

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    Upsadaisy, another first year teacher and I were talking about this just the other day. When I created my behavior plan, I went ALL out. It was too much to keep up with all the extra behavior charts, etc. especially for a class that was fairly well behaved! My advice would be to add things as you need to. If your class needs the extra behavior charts (or whatever it might be) incorporate it as you go. I also spent a lot of time creating materials that I didn't really need...but as a first year teacher you don't really find out those things until you get into your own classroom.

    I do wish I would have spent more time organizing my library before the beginning of last year. That has to be one of my projects this summer and not something I am looking forward too.:rolleyes:
     
  26. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    May 27, 2006

    I always over plan for the 1st week of school. You don't know what your kids are capable of yet. It's okay if you don't get to that stuff.

    In our school we don't get our schedules until we come back the 2 weeks before school starts.
    I actually knew who my mentor was about mid summer, before she knew. I called her up and said "Well, I've been told you'll be my mentor." She said "Really? They haven't told me for sure yet." I just asked her what type of stuff will be in my room, and what I should go buy with the money the school gave us.
    The school website might even have their general expectations for behavior. Check it out, if you can't get it from somewhere else.
     
  27. crnewton

    crnewton New Member

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    May 28, 2006

    I honestly hope that everyone who is just starting out has a mentor that is helpful and knowledgeable, a principal who is supportive, supportive parents, and a welcoming school to go to.

    My first teaching job had very little of that. I was hired for the job the last week in June, and I didn't actually find out 100% for sure what I was teaching until August 19th, and school started on September 7th. I had another week of work at my summer job, and the school I was hired at was 4 hours away from where I was living at the time. I was hired for a .67 Early years and Music and then I was given a .33 position as well to make me full time. The Early years part ended up being 11 k-2 students in the afternoons teaching Science, Social Studies, Gym, Health, 1 period of ELA. I had k-2, 3/4 and 5/6 for music (there were very little resources left from the last person, and when I had student taught in music, the school I was in had their program set up differently than I would, so there was little help there.) The .33 ended up being grades 7/8 math and 1 period of 3/4 Math that I shared with another teacher who came in from another school to teach the other part. I'm not a middle years/junior high teacher by any means, and the kids in that class were not angels by any stretch.

    So, when I got to the school on the 28th of August, I went through resources and tried to get some semblance of order out of my schedule. The principal of the school was also principal a quarter of the time in a french immersion school down the highway, and this was her first year in the school that I was in. She had so much on her plate, and mentoring a new teacher was more than she could handle, so I had very little guidance. The other teachers in the school were somewhat helpful, but most of them had enough to deal with, as the school dealt with some interesting students to say the least.

    In the community I was in, the parents weren't very supportive either, and when they had a problem with me, they didn't contact me, but went to the principal and superintendent instead.

    It's unfortunate that my first crack at teaching turned out as poorly as it did, but I think it has helped me figure out what I want in terms of positions and schools, and that mentorship is sooo important in the first years of ones career.
     
  28. srh

    srh Devotee

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    May 28, 2006

    LC--I am in the last two weeks of my first year teaching (Kinder). I felt EXACTLY the way you described all last summer--I'm a Type A Firstborn Overachiever (;-D), with a tendency to be anal in the details! It made me crazy that even though I was hired in May, I couldn't really "do" anything for the classroom or plan anything until mid-August (teachers were due on campus August 15!). I did meet with my coteachers to do some curriculum mapping the first week or so of August, but I agonized over what to do, what to plan, how to set up my lesson plan book, etc. The new teacher orientation was minimally helpful for what I really wanted to know. It was more generic and/or HR-based. Good stuff, but not the nitty-gritty details I needed!

    It took me a couple of months to even be able to anticipate the daily and weekly schedules a little bit. Especially in Kinder, there is no "down time" for a teacher, and I was absolutely overwhelmed, following the lead of my partner teacher's morning schedule. That helped, and I'm thankful he was a good model! I would say, though, just know that it will take some time to make the classroom and students feel like they are "yours." Don't beat yourself up over little things like forgetting something or running out of time. It simply takes a while to get the hang of it. I am SO looking forward to my second year for the simple reason that I can now anticipate and prepare more on my own. I like to be independent! GOOD LUCK! YOU CAN DO IT!
     
  29. wig

    wig Devotee

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    Congratulations!!! You have received some great advise: When I was doing a search for a friend of mine I found this in a lesson bank on classroom management procedures. I "know" this teacher through chatboard discussion and personal e-mails and she is (or was - she is moving to fifth) a terrific third grade teacher. I DIDN"T know she had posted her procedures and handbook. This may give you a place to start.

    http://teachers.net/lessons/posts/3147.html
    http://teachers.net/lessons/posts/3148.html

    You will love this board. Everyone is so helpful and no one (that I have ever seen) flames anyone. It is a "homey" place to be.
     
  30. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    I finally found the book that helped me through my first year. It's called "A First Year Teacher's Guidebook" by Williamson. It's a great book with lots of ideas and resources. Even reproducables.
     
  31. swsmith63

    swsmith63 Rookie

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    I think one of the problems with following the 'new teacher guidebooks' is that while they contain a lot of GREAT information, they fail to allow the new teacher to spend a little time getting to know him/herself. It's okay to follow the guides, but they don't account for your own unique style and personality. I'm a newly certified teacher myself and have done a lot of subbing, but I don't have my own classroom yet. I've read the books, but I have found that creating a virtual classroom, and spelling out my procedures in detail has helped me to feel more confident about what I want from my classroom. The idea of having my own classroom is scary and exciting. I can't wait to finally get the chance to implement what I know and what I want to happen. I know, however, that I will make mistakes. Learning is like that...for our students, and for ourselves.
     
  32. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I agree. I think that teaching is kind of like skydiving. You can read a lot and take all the courses and do practice runs. But until you're actually in there all alone with the kids, you don't know exactly what you've gotten yourself into.

    Even for those of us who aren't new to it, each year presents unique challenges and rewards. That's one of the many things that are so incredibly great about it: each year is a fresh start!
     
  33. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

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    A book I read over the weekend is "The Reluctant Disciplinarian". It is the true story of a new teacher's DISASTROUS first year. This book is a humorous and easy read. This new teacher made so many huge mistakes his first day-and all year long!! He explains what not to do and what TO do.. Four year into his teaching career he was voted teacher of the year. I loved this book.
     
  34. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Kat- that sounds inspirational! I have to check it out
     
  35. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

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    yes, it's a great book. This teacher was a young guy who entered the teaching profession thinking he was going to be "hip and cool" and his students nearly give him nervous break-down.
     
  36. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Sounds like my first experience...LOL
     
  37. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

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    This guy gives an honest look into his mistakes and failures. He ends up really losing it a few times and picks up desks "with the kid still in it" and screaming his lungs out in a kid's ear.Ok I won't say anymore about it. I don't want to ruin the story for you.
     
  38. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    and he eventually got another job... wow- I wasn't that bad. maybe I have hope.
     
  39. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

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    He actually started in an inner city middle school and then I think the following year he taught in high school. He never got fired or anything...surprisingly. He did have VERY challenging students. He did not go through the traditional teaching program like most of us, he was a math major and entered the "Teach for America" program for all the wrong reasons.
     
  40. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    That's the whole point of this book. It's a guide, not rules to stick to. Lots of great tips to help you along. It even says in the book that you need to pull whatever information you need for it, and to make your room your own.
     
  41. wanateach

    wanateach Companion

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    May 30, 2006

    Icluig-
    Where are you? I am near St. Louis too!!! I taught but it has been years ago I got the files for my kids so I could study them over the summer and I went to the teacher's house-who I was replacing and she was able to fill me in on what to expect ie what she did with them, so I could make the transition smoother for them-that was a big huge help to me-I finally could formalize a plan of what I wanted to do. hope this in some way helps. I am so jealous, I want to teach around here too-good luck hope it falls into place for you.
     

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